Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates
COMMUNITY IMPACT SURVEY - The Massachusetts Department of Public Health wants to hear how COVID-19 has affected you. Share your experience by completing the anonymous survey at: mass.gov/covidsurvey
Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that is generally spread from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to the flu or other respiratory illnesses. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Massachusetts was reported on February 1, 2020. The number of confirmed cases in Massachusetts began to increase rapidly in early March
As of October 23, there have been 3,880 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Lowell residents. The City of Lowell was notified of its first positive case on March 10, 2020. Currently, Lowell's average new daily cases exceeds 8 over the last 14 days, which classifies the City as "red," or "higher risk" under the state's risk designation system.
Led by the Health Department and Emergency Management team, the City of Lowell has undertaken vigorous response and preparedness efforts since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. These efforts have taken place in coordination with state agencies and local health partners, including Lowell General Hospital, Trinity EMS and the Lowell Community Health Center and have resulted in positive developments that have enhanced the community’s health infrastructure, including expanded testing and hospital bed capacity.
Coronavirus symptoms may appear within two to fourteen days of exposure to the virus, and include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, chills, repeated shaking with chills, and loss of taste or smell. The severity of these symptoms ranges among patients. Click here for more information regarding symptoms from the CDC.
Individuals displaying symptoms, even if they are mild, should contact their healthcare provider for guidance regarding testing. Massachusetts residents may also check their symptoms online through a service offered by Buoy Health to determine if testing is appropriate. Additionally, individuals who have been in direct contact with anyone who has tested positive should seek testing.
Click here to view an interactive map of all testing sites in Massachusetts.
Many testing sites require a referral from an individual’s primary care physician. Individuals that do not have a PCP may contact the Lowell Community Health Center, which has implemented a system to screen patients to determine if testing is in order.
Any person who is demonstrating symptoms of coronavirus should remain in quarantine through the testing process, and should not leave their home until a negative test is produced.
From April through June, CVS operated a rapid testing site at the Showcase Cinema parking lot in Lowell, conducting up to 1,000 COVID-19 tests per day. As of Saturday, June 27, the rapid testing site has closed.
In partnership with Trinity EMS and the Lowell Community Health Center, the City of Lowell's Health Department has offered no-cost COVID-19 testing to all Lowell residents through the state's "Stop the Spread" initiative at sites throughout the City. Based on declining transmission metrics in the City, there is currently no additional Stop the Spread testing scheduled in the Lowell.
Stop the Spread was launched on July 10 and is intended to curb transmission of COVID-19 through expanding the availability of testing to asymptomatic residents in communities throughout Massachusetts. Lowell was among the original eight communities served by the program, which is now active in eighteen communities across the Commonwealth. All Massachusetts residents, including those that are asymptomatic or that are not residents of communities where testing is offered, are eligible for testing at any site. More information about Stop the Spread testing is available at mass.gov/stopthespread.
MONITORING AND CONTACT TRACING
The City’s Health Department is notified of each confirmed case of COVID-19 in Lowell. Public health nurses contact each patient to ensure that they are aware of isolation requirements, to ensure that they have the resources and support needed to get through isolation, and to determine others that they have been in contact with. Through a process known as contact tracing, the Department’s staff works to connect with each contact to advise them of protocols given their exposure to the virus. Contact tracing is a critical public health function in containing the spread of coronavirus. It is important that residents who are contacted by a public health nurse cooperate fully. Please look out for incoming calls from a 978-674 exchange, or that appear as "City of Lowell" on your caller ID, as these may be contact tracing calls.
In certain cases, contact tracing may also be conducted by the state through Partners In Health. These calls will come from numbers with 833 or 857 prefixes and should display "MA COVID Team" on Caller IDs.
CITY HALL OPERATIONS
Beginning Tuesday, July 21, City Hall and all other City buildings will be open to the public on Tuesdays from 8AM-8PM and Thursdays from 8AM-5PM. All City Departments will be available to assist residents remotely outside of these times during regular business hours.
The City of Lowell is requesting that residents and other individuals seeking to attend to City-related business continue to do so remotely when possible; online, by phone, through the mail, or by using the City’s secure drop box located at City Hall’s entrance at JFK Plaza. All City Departments will remain open and available to assist residents remotely during regular business hours.
Members of the public entering any City building must adhere to physical distancing guidelines, remaining six feet apart from City employee and other members of the public, and will be required to wear a face covering for duration of their visit, unless they are unable to due to a medical condition. Individuals are asked to avoid entering City buildings if they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
City Hall and all other City buildings initially closed to the public due to concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 on Monday, March 16, 2020.
Public amenities that previously closed to the public including playgrounds and playing surface such as basketball courts, have now reopened to the public.
For questions related to City operations, call: 978-674-4400.
STATEWIDE MITIGATION ORDERS/ACTIONS
Governor Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts on March 10, 2020, enhancing the administration’s ability to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
On March 24, 2020, Governor Baker ordered the closure of non-essential businesses and operations, and issues a stay-at-home advisory for all residents.
On May 18, the Administration announced the commencement of the state’s four-phase reopening plan which has allowed certain businesses and operations to resume under heightened safety guidelines. The state is currently in phase 3 of the reopening process. Given Lowell's designation as a higher risk community, the Community remains in step one of phase three, and is not able to advance to step two, which allows for expanded capacity at performance venues, museums, and certain other facilities.
For more information on the administration’s phased re-opening plan, including sector-specific guidance, click here.
On May 6, Governor Baker issued an order requiring the use of masks or face coverings in public places where it is not possible to maintain appropriate social distance. This order remains in effect. Click here for more information on the order.
Effective August 1, all travelers to Massachusetts, including Massachusetts residents returning to the state and out-of-state travelers are required to quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a COVID-19 lower risk state or they produce a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of their arrival. Individuals that were tested prior to arriving in the state but have not received their test results must quarantine until they receive a negative test result. This order applies to college students returning to a Massachusetts campus. Individuals that fail to comply with this order may face fines up to $500. States that are currently considered low risk and exempt for the order are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Hawaii. Click here for more information on this policy.
Under a revised order issued on August 7, outdoor gatherings may not exceed 50 individuals (previously 100) and indoor gatherings may not exceed 25 individuals. These limitations apply to both public and private gatherings, but not to gatherings for political expression or religious activity. Participants in any gathering exceeding 10 persons must wear face coverings.
Violation of this order may result in a civil fine of up to $500.
PROTECT YOURSELF AND HELP STOP THE SPREAD
The most effective way to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic is to limit your risk for exposure, meaning remaining at home whenever possible and limiting contact with individuals outside of your household. Other recommendations from the CDC and other health authorities include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Wear a mask/face covering when leaving your house.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid People who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
Residents with any questions or concerns related to coronavirus are encouraged to contact the City of Lowell’s Health Department at 978-674-4010 or contact the 2-1-1 line set up by the state. Massachusetts residents are encouraged to sign up for updates from the state by texting COVIDMA to 888-777.
Lowell Health DepartmentPhone: 978-674-4010
Monday - Friday
COVID-19 CASES IN LOWELL
TOTAL NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CASES